How To Create SMART Goals

No matter what type of business you run, it’s important to set goals. Your goals keep you focused on what you want to achieve and make it easier for employees to understand why their work is important. If you’re ready to start setting goals, keep reading to learn more about SMART goals and why you should use them.

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What Are SMART Goals?

The SMART goals acronym stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. Using the SMART framework is important to stay organized and give your team a sense of direction. Imagine what would happen if you set a generic goal like “get more customers.” The statement says nothing about how many new customers you want to get, how long you plan to focus on the goal, or whether your company is even capable of reaching the goal. Generic goals also leave employees wondering about how their work roles fit into your plans for the organization.

How To Write A SMART Goal

To write a SMART goal, start out with a broad idea of what you want to achieve and narrow it down so it fits the SMART framework. Take “get more customers” as an example. The first thing you need to do is make this generic goal more specific. Do you want 25, 50, or 100 new customers? Once you specify how many new customers you want to attract to your business, your team members will understand exactly what they’re working toward.

“Sign 25 new customers” is measurable because it’s easy to determine when you’ve achieved the goal. If you sign 20 new customers, you’ll know you still have some work to do. If you sign 30 new customers, you can congratulate your team members for reaching the goal. When you write SMART goals for your business, always include some unit of measure, such as number of customers signed, percentage of emails opened, direct mail response rate, or PPC click-through rate.

It’s important to make your business goals attainable (realistic). If a goal is too easy for your team members to achieve, they may not feel any sense of accomplishment after reaching it. They may even slack off because they feel there’s no point in working hard if you don’t expect much from them. At the other end of the spectrum, you don’t want to make your business goals too difficult to achieve — or your team members will get discouraged when they work hard and continually fall short of reaching a goal. Something like “sign up five new customers in 30 days” is much more realistic than “sign up 50 customers in 30 days.”

Your goals should also be highly relevant to your business. Otherwise, employees won’t have much of an incentive to pursue them. Choosing relevant goals also ensures that everything your employees do is aligned with your company’s mission and values. Finally, SMART goals should be time-based. Setting a deadline ensures employees know how long they have to achieve the goal, how much time they should spend on the goal versus their other responsibilities, and how likely it is they’ll be able to achieve the goal in the amount of time allotted.

SMART Marketing Goals

In a business setting, one of the best ways to use SMART goals is to make your marketing team more effective. Using the SMART framework can help you grow your business by focusing your employees’ efforts on things like SEO, online conversion rates, and content management. Making your marketing goals specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based sets the tone for your team and ensures they understand what they need to do to succeed.

SMART Goal Examples

If you’re interested in using SMART goals to ramp up your marketing efforts, use these examples as you figure out what you want your team to focus on this week, this month, this quarter, or this year.

Example #1: Publish one post per week on the company blog.

This example adheres to the SMART framework because it specifies how many posts you want to publish and how often you want to post them. Writing one post per week is also attainable (realistic), relevant to your business, and time-based. Your marketing team members will know exactly what they need to do and when they need to do it.

Example #2: Increase our email open rate from 24% to 36% during the third quarter.

Again, this goal adheres to the SMART framework because it’s specific about what you want to do (increase your email open rate) and measurable (you want to increase it to 36%). It’s most likely attainable, it’s relevant to your business, and it specifies that you want to achieve the goal during the third quarter of the year (time-based).

Goal Setting Done Right

Using the SMART acronym to set goals helps ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. If you’re not sure how to use the SMART framework to your advantage, don’t be afraid to reach out for help from experienced professionals.